Invitations to Partake

1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

Some 25 years ago I sat with a two-person video crew and a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship missionary on the dirt floor of a simple, one-room house in a small village in the mountains of Albania. One of our bearded, robe-clad hosts smiled broadly as he picked up a small glass, filled it with a cloudy liquid, and extended it to one of us before filling another.

We had been warned but also reminded that as guests we should not only receive the libation but partake gladly. Trying to disguise my considerable trepidation, I took my first ever sip of raki, a traditional Albanian drink, in this case home-brewed and, let’s say, intense. It burned all the way down.

As guests, we drank, if only a little, out of courtesy and respect for our hosts who spoke a language understood, at times, only by the missionary. Our hosts lived in ways also unknown to us. While we laughed later about the awkwardness, we knew the gesture of respect was in a way as important as the medical supplies we had brought. Paul exhorted the Christians in Corinth to accept gladly an invitation to dine with unbelievers and to go with an attitude of respect and gratitude. After all, to quote Psalm 24, “the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s” (v. 26).

To eat or drink—or not? The key is consideration for the other. And that requires humility, grace, and discernment. In that spirit, like the great apostle, we can be imitators of Christ.


What relationship needs your grace rather than your judgment?


God, to consider another’s sake rather than my own is counterintuitive for me. Help me to intuit and adopt the attitude of Paul and the Christ he served. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Reflections: Daily Devotional Guide volume 32.1.

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